Thursday, October 13, 2011

Melting Moments

Today is a deliciously dreary day.  I am currently reading Anne of Green Gables, so phrases like that quickly come to mind… deliciously dreary.  Anne Shirley is one of my heroes; ever since I saw the movie starring Megan Follows at a third grade sleepover.  Reading it now reminds me of the girl I was, and the woman I thought I’d be.  It also makes me realize how much richer my life would be from knowing the names of trees and flowers.

Lots of things are going on.  First, we have sold our house and the hunt begins for new digs!  I am both excited and anxiety –riddled.  Not only am I stressing out about square footage, bathrooms, yard, etc., I haven’t really figured out where I want to be looking.  Whether we pick something more suburban or more rural could completely change what type of childhood memories my kids have, which of course will influence the people they become.  Granted, both settings can make for good times, but the responsibility feels overwhelming.
I should also check in on my Janna Improvement Project.  It’s not going quite as well as I would like.  I have been successfully getting more sleep (when Sam, my one-year-old cooperates).  This really has been as easy as turning of the TV and lights around 10:00 each night.  The other resolutions are causing me more trouble.  While there is some improvement, I’m not putting a lot of effort towards them.   The S-rule is particularly hard to follow, as evident by the rest of my post today.

Melting Moments (recipe found at JoyofBaking)

It’s raining and I am housebound.  My husband’s car is quickly deteriorating.  The cloth top has split at the seams, and he has to bail out the bottom of his car anytime it rains.  The driver’s side door is now stuck, and he has learned recently that some birds seem to be using his car as a shelter during severe storms.  We decided that it was probably illegal to subject his carpool to those conditions, so on his driving day he takes my car.

So today I’ve had nowhere to go, and it is rather too wet to go outside.  I’ve done a little cleaning, and little organizing, but in the end I came back to my favorite activity, baking.  Something with chocolate and nuts was my first instinct, but my chocolate stores are dwindling, and I thought it unfair to make nutty cookies when Sam wouldn’t be able to eat them.  Then I thought of my old friend, butter.
These cookies are super simple to make, and most likely you have all ingredients on hand.  Be sure to roll the cookies into 1” balls.  Too big and they will make you exceedingly thirsty.   They are what I think of as an afternoon cookie, when you want something sweet, perhaps with coffee or tea, but don’t want to go too decadent.  They are smooth and sweet and melt in a moment.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"The Janna Improvement Project"

It is October 1st and 57° outside.  Finally, it looks and feels like fall.  I know that it will be back in the 70’s later next week, but for now, I am going to savor this taste of autumn.

Amid the chaos that is my daily household life, I’ve been doing a bit of unusual reading, well, unusual for me.  My husband joined what was meant to be a woman’s book club with some women, and one other man, at his work, and they’ve taken up reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I picked it up from the library on his behalf, and have quickly been making my way through it. I typically pass on self-help books, and I can’t say I am enjoying this one either, but I’m not exactly sure why.  I respect the overall project; examining aspects of your life that you could improve upon, focusing on one aspect a month, making resolutions, and tracking your consistency at keep those resolutions.  That sounds like a great idea.  I think I get hung up on naming this project “The Happiness Project.”  I believe that creating more happiness has to be more than the sum of positive check marks on a chart.  I think “My Personal Improvement Project” is more appropriate, but of course that makes a lousy blog or book title. It just seems that much in this book is oversimplified and not in scale with the large scope of the subject matter.

Still, with that being said, I am following her lead and starting the “Janna Improvement Project.”  The very fact that I am starting this is taking me out of my comfort zone.  I love making lists. I make them all the time; lists of books I want to read, places I want to go, my favorite names of paint colors.  I make these lists and stick them in notebooks and drawers.  I care nothing whatsoever about checking things off lists or charting things.  However, I can see the benefit of her approach in her book, and I am going to measure on a daily basis my progress.

So for October, I am focusing on my health.  I thought this would be the easiest place to start, since it is something solely about me that I can control (for the most part.)  My resolutions are:
  1. Get more sleep.  This really translates to ‘go to bed earlier.’
  2. Exercise more.  My once a week yoga class is not enough, and I know I need to make more time for this.
  3. Get outdoors more.  I am a big believer in fresh air, and of course this can help me with #2.
  4. Eat healthier meals, and less of them.  I am using the “S-rule” I read about in Michael Pollan’s Food Rules as a guide for this one.  “No snacks, no seconds, no sweets — except on days that begin with the letter S.”

Luckily, today is Saturday.  There is a Flemish Rice Custard Tart that I’ve wanted to make for years now, and today is the perfect autumn day to do it.